Yep, that’s right.  I said physical therapy for your face!  Some of you may know about TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, and some of you may not.  The TMJ (look back to see that long long word) is the joint (similar to the other joints in your body) that attaches your jaw to your skull.  Here at Langford Sports & Physical Therapy we strive to keep up with new techniques for evaluation and treatment of a variety of problems or pain-generators.  One of the ways we do this is by attending continuing education courses, and Dr. Monet Supple, PT, DPT recently attended just such a course, this time on the jaw and face.

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Monet and her dad, Dr. Robert Supple, DMD (a jaw specialist practicing general dentistry in Albuquerque who recently came to teach the rest of us about the jaw and its connection to the neck and posture) spent a weekend this May in Boston learning about the TMJ (your jaw joint) and craniofacial (face and neck) pain and how jaw and face pain are intimately correlated with your neck and oral habits (chewing, biting, grinding, breathing…).  They learned examination and treatment techniques for the jaw and face, and how these disorders can cause all kinds of symptoms (see below for the complete list).

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Monet says that she took this course for several reasons.  “My dad has been a TMJ specialist for over 30 years, which has always sparked an interest for me.  Understanding the relationship between the cranium (skull), jaw, and cervical (neck) regions is crucial to treating several [problems], including jaw pain and headaches (there we go with the headaches again, check out Genevieve Richter’s neural manipulation blog too).”  She states that she wants to “develop an open dialogue between dentistry, orthodontics, oral-facial doctors, and physical therapists to benefit patients with the best possible multidisciplinary care for a very common source of pain.”

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It is estimated that 40% of the $80 billion spent annually on the treatment of chronic pain is due to TMD (tempro-mandibular dysfunction) or jaw pain. Many people do not know who to seek for treatment for jaw pain or even know that physical therapy can help! Women in their 30s are at most risk for TMD, but anyone can suffer from the following symptoms relating or attributed to the TMJ:

  • Stuffy sensation in the ears
  • Tinnitus
  • Impaired hearing
  • Ear pain
  • Face pain
  • Headaches
  • Painful eating
  • Jaw clicking
  • Teeth grinding

If you are struggling with any of the above symptoms, know you have TMJ pain, or are curious about how your jaw and oral habits may be influencing your neck or face pain (or vice/versa), you may benefit from an evaluation and treatment with Monet here at Langford Sports & Physical Therapy. Call and schedule an appointment, or check out our website to make an appointment with Monet and see what else she can add to your current treatment approach!

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